Goats at Lizard's Mouth?
By Robert Bernstein
Goats at Lizard's Mouth? Laura Dookie lives just over the mountains from Santa Barbara and has a pair of goats Jeff and Jack who she loves to share with other people. She says the goats make her happy and I have to say Laura, Jeff and Jack made us happy, too!
She has this group on Meetup called Santa Barbara Pack Goat Adventure Group:
Some of her goats outings are substantial hikes. But she has added some Sunday sunset outings at Lizard's Mouth for those who just want to have fun with the goats in a beautiful spot. And we decided to check it out!
Here Laura unpacked Jeff and Jack from her little truck as her niece watched.
This is not a great photo, but I wanted to show the young man with the GOAT top who came by just as we were gathering the group. A total coincidence! They knew nothing about the goat event and were just passing by.Here Laura educated us about goat teeth as we gathered. She showed how in front they only have upper teeth with none below to match them! Way in the back of their mouths they do have matching teeth to grind their food.Soon, we were on our way. We entered at the main entrance near the Winchester Gun Club. After following the trail a few minutes we were in the wonderful playground of rocks that is Lizard's Mouth. This next video shows our little group as we made our way up the back of the actual Lizard to the nose of the Lizard.
You can see the goats stopping to nibble the chaparral along the way. Jeff and Jack are fraternal twins as they are from the same litter. Jeff has more black fur than Jack. Jack got something up his nose and started sneezing near the end. You can see Laura try to help him.
Since one of the people in our group had never been to Lizard's Mouth, I suggested we descend to below the nose of the Lizard so they could see the mouth of the Lizard in all its glory! Here you can watch Jeff then Jack make it down the rocks.
I was in awe of how they can do this with no fingers or toes to grab onto things! Laura pointed out that they actually do have a kind of thumb behind and above their hoof that is very strategic for grabbing on. These are Alpine goats native to the French Alps. Very used to climbing!
And here was the rewarding view of the actual mouth of the Lizard!Here you can watch the reverse process as the goats climbed back up from below the mouth.
Next, Laura let me pose with Jack. I passed Jack over to Isobel who is visiting from England. And then my wife Merlie came down and Laura captured us together with Jack.
I learned a very important lesson and was glad I did not have to learn it the hard way: These goats are very friendly and tame. But the one thing they don't like is if you touch their horns. Fortunately, Jack held no ill will toward me when I briefly made that mistake!
I should also note that Merlie has had a number of careers in her life and has traveled much of the world. But her last career before coming to stay in the US was as a goat herder!
The next video is a merge of two wonderful scenes. In the first scene, Laura leads the goats past the mouth of the big cave as I stood inside. The moment they passed the mouth of the cave with the sunset behind them was truly breath taking for me!The second scene is where Laura leads the goats to a small and beautiful cave and coaxes them inside. I was delighted when Jack nuzzled close to me and posed for the camera!Here is the video.
The final video is a merge of three scenes. In the first scene Jeff rubs his horns on the chaparral.
Laura explained this is to soften it up to make it easier to eat. In the second scene Jack poops on top of the nose of the Lizard as Laura tells a story of a previous pooping incident while camping with them!
And the final scene shows us all descending the final time from the nose of the Lizard as other visitors watch.
Here you can see Jack looking at me as he and Laura pose on the nose of the Lizard.Feel free to join the Santa Barbara Pack Goat Adventure Group Meetup and you will be notified of upcoming events with Laura, Jack and Jeff!